Being Diagnosed With A Mental Illness Has Made Me A Better Person

Written by Susan Page
I grew up in a foster home for the first six years of my life in Oakland, California, where I witnessed abuse and neglect. At six years old, I was adopted. It was then that I learned that my birth mother gave me up because she was too sick to take care of me due to her struggles with bipolar disorder.
For years, I was warned about my increased susceptibility for developing bipolar disorder. But no one ever told me what it would feel like if I did or that I had a good probability of developing it even as I got older….

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#Children, #MentalHealth

What can we learn from: Dead Poets Society?

One of my favorite movies set in 1959 New England at an all boys prep school, Dead Poets Society. A new English teacher arrives portrayed by Robin Williams who happens to be one of my favorite actors. Since his death, I find myself drawn to his movies and his various characters. A great loss that Robin Williams took his own life.

In the movie, one of the students, Neil, as all teenagers do-is trying to find his own path. His parents want him to go to Harvard and study medicine, but he wants to be an actor. His parents who are not well off have sacrificed much to send him to this school as they feel it will give him the necessary prep to attend Harvard….

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#Adults, #DeadPoetsSociety, #Education, #Passion, #Youth

Rolling Out de Blasio’s Pre-Kindergarten Expansion Initiative

As New York City schools open for a new academic year, over 50,000 four year olds are now attending public pre-kindergarten. After receiving $300 million of funding for new programs in March, Mayor de Blasio and his administration faced both logistical and political obstacles, specifically securing space for the new classrooms….

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#Education, #McSilver, #Prek

Tarpon Springs, FL, first trauma-informed city, embraces messy path toward peace


Tarpon Springs, Florida, once known as the nation’s sponge-fishing capital, today boasts a new designation: the first city in the country to declare itself a trauma-informed community.

It isn’t that the 24,000 residents of the scenic Gulf Coast town know more than the rest of us about emergency room techniques, spend their time crunching spreadsheets of violence data or watch more episodes of “America’s Most Wanted.”

Being a trauma-informed community means that Tarpon Spring has made a commitment to engage people from all sectors—education, juvenile justice, faith, housing, health care and business—in common goals. The first is to understand how personal adversity affects the community’s well being. The second is to institute resilience-building practices so that people, organizations and systems no longer traumatize already traumatized people and instead contribute to building a healthy community….

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#Abuse, #Compassion

Massachusetts “Safe and Supportive Schools” provisions signed into law, boosts trauma-informed school movement

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed into law provisions to create conditions for “safe and supportive schools” intended to improve education outcomes for children statewide, and giving momentum to the state’s trauma-informed schools movement. They were included in The Reduction of Gun Violence bill (No. 4376). This groundbreaking advance was achieved when advocates seized the opportunity to add behavioral health in the schools to the options under consideration as state officials searched for ways to strengthen one of the nation’s more restrictive gun laws in the aftermath of the tragic shooting of schoolchildren in Newtown, CT. …

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#AceStudy, #ChildTrauma, #MentalHealth, #PublicHealth

New education and immigration developments in New York

With the New York State Legislature ending its session for the summer, a number of significant developments came under discussion. Education was a central topic, with Governor Cuomo and other legislators considering the re-evaluation of the Common Core, a curriculum created in 2010 to improve academic performance that has come under scrutiny since its recent adoption. Under Common Core criteria, a teacher can be terminated if his or her students do not perform well on a set of standardized tests two years in a row.

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#Education, #Immigration, #McSilver

Student loan debt and the rise of for-profit Universities

The national conversation around student loan debts reached a peak last week as Obama signed an executive order capping student loan repayments at ten percent of one’s income. Additionally, the Senate voted against Senator Elizabeth Warren’s student loan bill, the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which proposed allowing people to refinance their college loans to a rate of 3.86 percent.  Although the Obama administration supported this bill, stating that it would help an estimated 25 million people save up to $2,000 each on their student loans, this bill’s proposal to raise taxes in order to cover the $51 billion cost may have lost some support because of the timing during an election year. The proposed tax would have imposed a 30 percent tax minimum for those with an income upward of $1 million. …

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#HigherEducation, #McSilver, #StudentLoans

McSilver Institute Lifts Macro Social Work

The power of macro social work practice was on display Wednesday evening at the second annual McSilver Awards at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) Fisher Building.  Led by director Mary McKernan McKay, the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work has become a force for social justice and societal change in New York and an example for the nation of the transformational power of social work.   At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, the only thing I can say is: you should have been there.  Describing the energy and emotions that filled the evening would be difficult to do in this short post….

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#SocialJustice, #SocialWork

Are college degrees disproportionately accessible to wealthier students?

In the Spotlight 
A recent Supreme Court ruling on affirmative action has put race and access to higher education front and center as Universities around the country are graduating an estimated 1.6 million undergraduate students this year. …

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#College, #Education, #GraduationRates

At Reedley (CA) High School, Suspensions Drop 40%, Expulsions 80% In Two Years

In 2009, when the Kings Canyon Unified School District in California’s rural Central Valley offered its 19 schools the opportunity to adopt a system that would reduce school suspensions and expulsions, Reedley High School jumped at the chance.

Today, Reedley is in its fourth year of changing a zero-tolerance policy that has failed this school and community miserably, just as every zero-tolerance policy across the country has. The school, which has 1,900 students, is feeling its way out of those draconian days by integrating PBIS — Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support — and entering into a unique partnership with the West Coast Mennonite Central Committee and the local police department to implement a successful restorative justice program….

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#ChildTrauma, #Health, #Poverty